News & Politics

Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Trump: 'U.S. Belongs to All Nations'

FILE- In this Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 file photo, President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens during a news conference after addressing the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 in New York. Iran's former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, discussing immigration, America's wars in the Middle East and other topics. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The former president of Iran, Mahmoud Amadinejad, wrote a letter to President Trump congratulating him on “truthfully describ[ing] the U.S. political system and electoral structure as corrupt.”

But he criticized the president for his travel ban — a ban that includes Iran.

Associated Press:

Ahmadinejad decried U.S. “dominance” over the United Nations, as well as American meddling in the world that has brought “insecurity, war, division, killing and (the) displacement of nations.”

He also acknowledged the some 1 million people of Iranian descent living in America, saying that U.S. policies should “value respect toward the diversity of nations and races.”

“In other words, the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land,” he wrote. “No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.”

A judge later blocked Trump’s travel ban, and an appeals court refused to reinstate it. Trump has promised to issue a revised order soon, saying it’s necessary to keep America safe.

Entirely missing from the letter was any reference to Iran’s nuclear program. Under Ahmadinejad’s presidency, Iran found itself heavily sanctioned over the program as Western governments feared it could lead to the Islamic Republic building atomic weapons. Iran has long maintained its program was for peaceful purposes.

Iran under current President Hassan Rouhani struck a nuclear deal with world powers, including the Obama administration, to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. Trump campaigned promising to renegotiate the deal, without offering specifics.

Ahmadinejad gave the letter to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests in Iran. The embassy declined to comment Sunday while American officials could not be immediately reached.

The letter comes ahead of Iran’s presidential election, in which Rouhani is widely expected to seek a second four-year term. While allies of Ahmadinejad are expected to run, he himself won’t after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned him in September his candidacy would bring about a “polarized situation” that would be “harmful for the county.”

Ahmadinejad’s popularity in Iran remains in question. During his tenure, he personally questioned the scale of the Holocaust and predicted the demise of Israel. His disputed 2009 re-election saw widespread protests and violence. Two of his former vice presidents went to prison for corruption.

But Ahmadinejad offered Trump his own warning about how quickly time passes for leaders.

“Four years is a long period, but it ends quickly,” he wrote. “The opportunity needs to be valued, and all its moments need to be used in the best way.”

The former Iranian president is not alone in his belief that foreign leaders can lecture the U.S. because we “belong to all nations.” Funny how that only comes up when the world community wants something from the U.S. — in this case, lifting the ban on travel from seven Muslim countries to the US.

Ahmadinejad, a former mayor of Tehran, wasn’t much of a politician. Like all Iranian leaders, he was extraordinarily corrupt and for him to lecture the American president about anything is a joke.

This is especially true when he speaks of valuing  “respect toward the diversity of nations and races.” Ask the Kurds in Iran how much Ahmadinejad valued diversity when he was in power. The minority group was denied equality with other Iranians and regularly attacked by mobs goaded on by authorities. Also, ask the few Sunni Muslims living in Iran how much Ahmadinejad — or any Iranian leader — values diversity.

It’s obvious Mr. Ahmadinejad misses the limelight and is hoping that a little Trump celebrity rubs off on him. Still, he makes a pathetic figure — a failed leader who proved himself not up to the task of governing.